It seems impossible that 2018 is over. Between expanding the team, experiencing record revenue growth, and receiving awards, it's flown by. None of it would have been possible without you, our clients and followers, thank you so much for supporting UNA. To thank you, we wanted to share a few wins and highlights from the year, as well as a quick video from our CEO on what you can expect from UNA in 2019.
Wins & Highlights of the Year
Local and National Acclaim
The primary challenge of working in group purchasing is that most people don't know about GPOs. A quick explanation is, it's kind of like Groupon for businesses. Because you purchase as part of a group, you get better discounts. Better still, the best GPOs are free. That's why one of the highlights of our year has been watching the nation catch on to the beauty of this model.
For example, Forbes said UNA was "proving that some things aren't too good to be true." Inc said UNA was a "scalable solution for reducing expenses in businesses of every size." Entrepreneur described partnering with us as a "way to save your company money without freezing budgets or firing anyone." It was exciting not only because it was national acclaim, but because the world is realizing that nearly every business can benefit by partnering with a GPO.
Another distinct high point of 2018 was winning a local award recognizing UNA's 150% year-over-year revenue growth.
The Kansas City Business Journal nominated and awarded the top 50 fastest-growing companies in the area — we won fourth place! See video and details. It was really special to be able to celebrate our success with our hometown.
Building the Team
A behind-the-scenes highlight of the year was expanding the team. UNA has a comprehensive hiring process, we don't want people who can just do the job, but people who are a great fit and believe in our core values. So it's always exhilarating when we bring someone on, they quickly become like family. Below is who we've hired this year, click their photo or name to find out more about who they are inside and outside of UNA.
Senior Digital Brand Strategist
Favorite food: “My family’s made-from-scratch Swedish meatballs and mashed red potatoes."
National Account Executive
Favorite food: “Anything I don’t have to cook.”
Director of Operations
Favorite food: “Mommas Pancake Breakfast from Cracker Barrel — something magical in those pancakes.”
Every year was have a 3-day team retreat. It's our designated time to work "on" the business, not just "in" the business. We do quarterly planning, practice having difficult conversations, and get training on how to improve our emotional intelligence (EQ). John Chisholm of Ember Learning reminded us that study after study shows that productive teams and effective leaders have strong EQ.
The good news is, EQ is a skill, and like any skill, it can be improved. These retreats are always a win because they help us come together. Everyone shares their goals and challenges, and it's a great time to learn from people outside of our departments. Bottom line, it brings us out of our silos and into the bigger picture.
Launching UNA Cares
This year we also started our new corporate responsibility program UNA Cares. It's been a rich experience to participate in our community, learn more about the needs of those who surround us and find new ways to share our time and resources.
Our focus is on at-risk youth and families, in our headquarters of Kansas City. Specifically those with financial, physical, or medical challenges. This year we volunteered as a team to help landscape the grounds of a nearby nonprofit, bought new desks for schools that desperately needed them, donated school uniforms, purchased holiday gifts, volunteered individually, and helped children learn to read. We've learned building a company is much more meaning when it helps those who need it most.
An especially memorable moment was kicking off the holiday season by decorating our UNA Christmas tree. But this wasn't just any tree; each employee added an ornament that represented their unique personality. You know you have an exceptional team when those ornaments include a dog dressed as a taco, a character Office Space boss, and an ombre unicorn.
We drank cocoa and eggnog and ate cookies. Best of all, we got to take a team shopping trip to pick out presents for Cornerstones of Care's annual holiday gift drive. The drive helps families who can't afford Christmas presents. Parents can come and pick out anything they want, free of charge, to give to their children. We bought bags upon bags of toys, tools, housewares, and clothes until our tree was overflowing.
Witnessing an Epic Win for the Chiefs
The year wouldn't have been complete without going to cheer on the KC Chiefs.
It was an incredible game against the Baltimore Ravens. We won by a close 3 points in overtime.
What to Expect From UNA in 2019
In the video below UNA CEO, Anthony Clervi shares his thoughts on the year and what he's excited about for 2019.
Exciting Things to Come in 2019
- Moving to a new office, tripling our space — better environment for our team and clients
- Specific hires, increasing UNA's employee count by at least 50%
- Increasing revenue growth
- Rolling out new data-driven business strategies
- In conclusion, we'll be investing and growing so we can deliver more value to clients
Thank you all for making 2018 so great for UNA. Cheers to all that's to come in the new year!